I picked up these pants for this year’s season after needing a little something different for the new terrain I was working in. I needed something lightweight, durable, and a little stretchy for the hikes. With the altitude and the steepness of the mountains outside of Denver I needed something with a little more stretch than the average pant in order to feel comfortable. For hiking I found that the same pants I often use while I’m flying, the Eddie Bauer Travex stretch hikers worked fine. For hunting I wanted something in olive drab or brown to match the surroundings as best as possible which is what led me to the Corrugate pants in Conifer (OD).
My order arrived ahead of schedule prior to a Friday jaunt into the mountains. I swapped out my Eddie Bauer pants for the FirstLites and decided I’d break them in on one of my “Adventure Fridays” as they’ve become known. The fit was a little tight in the calf area for me, but I have large calves to begin with. I wrote the guys at the R&D Pro line to see if there was any adjustment or any sizing I needed to worry about and was told that any looser and the fabric would make the “whooshing” noise we all know from the days of 90’s track pants. Well, I probably didn’t want that. In any event the fabric is stretchy and has some amount of spandex in the mix, so it fit, albeit a little snugly. I went out for a conditioning hike and they fit like a glove, stretching in any direction and keeping me relatively warm in the fall air.
I really put them to the test this year small game hunting both in Colorado and in Pennsylvania. I’ll say that the somewhat slippery coating on the outside of them (Probably the 37.5 Cocona) led them to be abrasion resistant, but they’re not brush pants. Don’t go swimming through multi-flora rose with them, they do eventually snag but have not yet torn. I use and abuse these pants and they survived a very hard season. With some long john bottoms they were very comfortable even with 4 inches of snow on the ground during our uneventful bear and deer seasons with weather coming and going. The built in insulation is probably not enough to get into late season with, but with the proper layering the pants keeps down the wind quite well.
Overall I’d recommend the pants for someone who is hunting or hiking in the big woods with the occasional bout of brush busting or bush whacking. These pants that are routinely featured on the MeatEater television show with Steven Rinella, and they put them through far more rigorous testing than I could provide. However, I know these pants need to last me a couple seasons — but I don’t baby any of my gear other than rifle and optics. These suckers are built to last so long as you treat them right.